Controversial Christian historian David Barton…misinterpretations…errors…and Glenn Beck

“If your family homeschools, or if you send your kids to a Christian school, or even if you are actively involved in Republican politics, listen to talk radio, and consider yourself a TEA party oriented person, the name David Barton has circled around your orbit at least a few times.” ~ Fred Butler, Hip & Thigh

              Marsha West

Marsha West

“America’s favorite historian” (at one time) has become a controversial figure. A few years ago David Barton was criticized for “cherry-picking” historical citations to present a Christian narrative of American history. Not surprisingly Christian bashers on the Left accused Barton of misinterpretations and errors in his writing. They weren’t alone in their criticism. A number of highly regarded conservative evangelicals and Catholics jumped on the bandwagon and began criticizing his misuse of information. Jay W. Richards of the Discovery Institute was one such critic. Richards, a Catholic, was so troubled by some of Barton’s writings that he invited a group of politically conservative evangelicals and Catholic historians to take part in an evaluation. Dr. Gregg Frazer of the Masters College in Santa Clarita, CA agreed to participate. Frazer, a conservative evangelical, authored The Religious Beliefs of the American Founders: Reason, Religion, and Revolution. In his book he states his belief that America’s Founders were neither deists nor Christians, they were something in-between. The term he uses is “theistic rationalist.” When Frazer critiqued David Barton’s popular video America’s Godly Heritage he found many of its factual claims questionable. For example: Barton’s claim that “52 of the 55 delegates at the Constitutional Convention were ‘orthodox, evangelical Christians.’” According to Frazer, Barton’s claim is bogus.

Christian Bible and book publisher Thomas Nelson published Barton’s book The Jefferson Lies: Exposing the Myths You’ve Always Believed About Thomas Jefferson and later had the books pulled from bookstores and stopped distribution for what it deemed factual issues with the text.

Even though Thomas Nelson made the decision to bail out, the book has been offered on Barton’s website, WallBuilders.com and on Amazon.com.

According to Warren Throckmorton of Patheos:

Even the Family Research Council recognized flaws in Barton’s presentations and pulled his Capitol Tour video from view. Also, Focus on the Family edited Barton’s talks to remove two major historical errors. (Source)

The Berean Call reported on the Barton brouhaha and quoted Casey Michel of TPM as saying:

[Jay] Richards emphasizes that he and the scholars he consulted about Barton largely agree with Barton’s belief that Christian principles played a major role in America’s founding, but Richards argues that Barton’s books and videos are full of “embarrassing factual errors, suspiciously selective quotes, and highly misleading claims.”

Berean Call concluded that:

While we have no doubt that Christians and Scriptural principles have influenced this nation, we need to stick to the facts. Because Barton’s research has often been shown to be in error, he has become a favorite target of skeptics who point to his errors and use it as ammunition in attacking believers. In short, carelessness or lack of integrity is counterproductive to the cause we would advance.

Recently World Net Daily decided that Thomas Nelson removed Barton’s book from publication because of “political correctness.” So WND’s CEO, Joseph Farah, published it in January 2016 and it’s available on WND at this writing. (View the article)

With this background in mind, let’s move to the current day and the main purpose of this article. Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) announced that David Barton has been given his own TV show which first aired January 8. The TBN press release states,

Once deeply respected around the world as a place of hope and opportunity, the United States of America today stands at a crucial crossroads as it faces serious issues central to faith, family, and freedom. But what if an entire generation of Americans could re-discover the bold, courageous, and compelling history that made their nation the “land of the free and the home of the brave”?

Evidently the powers that be who run TBN (Jan Crouch and sons Paul, Jr. and Matt) are unaware of the uproar Barton’s book on Thomas Jefferson caused. Either that or they don’t care that several prominent conservative historians have come out and said that his scholarship is shoddy. Likewise, they must be unaware of the statement Thomas Nelson’s Vice President and Publisher Brian Hampton made concerning this matter:

When the concerns came in, from multiple people, and that had weight too, we were trying to sort things out. Were these matters of opinion? Were they differences of interpretation? But as we got into it, our conclusion was that the criticisms were correct. There were historical details — matters of fact, not matters of opinion, that were not supported at all. (Source)

Continuing with TBN’s announcement:

With the help of special guests like conservative television host Glenn Beck, former Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, law professor Dr. Carol Swain, and others, David Barton explores America’s founding principles and values to discover how the Founding Fathers used the Bible as a blueprint to ensure the heritage of liberty Americans have cherished for over two hundred years.

Well this is interesting. Glenn Beck will be a guest on the show? Beck’s a member in good standing of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. Um…Mormons reject the Trinity, as in the T in TBN. Do Jan & Sons not know that Mormons contend they’re the true remnant of the Christian church — the one true church?

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